THE population of mosquitoes that can transmit West Nile virus (WNV) has grown in three municipalities in Andalucia. 

The number of female mosquitoes of species that can pass the disease on to humans has increased in Campillos (Malaga), Montalban (Cordoba) and Villamanrique de la Condesa (Sevilla). 

Campillos and Montalban have experienced a population growth of the species known as Culex pipiens, while Villamanrique de la Condesa has seen an increase in the number of Culex perexiguus. 

However, the risk of contracting the disease in the three municipalities is still low, according to the Spanish General Directorate of Health. 

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says infection with WNV is asymptomatic in most cases (80%), while it can lead to West Nile fever or severe West Nile disease.

Symptoms of this disease include fever, headache, tiredness, and body aches, nausea, vomiting, occasionally with a skin rash (on the trunk of the body) and swollen lymph glands.

The symptoms of severe illness (also called neuroinvasive disease, such as West Nile encephalitis or meningitis or West Nile poliomyelitis) include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, and paralysis. 

It is estimated that approximately 1 in 150 people infected with WNV will develop a more severe form of disease, which may result in the person’s death. 

The health issue is not serious in Andalucia, as the three municipalities mentioned above are at risk level II, being V the highest. 

These Andalucian towns have a population of between 100 and 150 mosquitoes that can possibly transmit the disease. 

Meanwhile, in the Guadalhorce’s estuary region in Malaga, the current risk level has gone down from high (IV) to moderate (III). 

Last year, five people contracted this virus in Spain while, in 2020, eight people died in Andalucia of the disease. 

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